October 1, 2012 Issue

Physics To Go 129 - Origami: Art & technology

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Physics in Your World

Robert J. Lang Origami image
image credit: Robert J. Lang; image source; larger image

Robert J. Lang Origami

Traditional origami is made by folding one square piece of paper, with no cuts allowed. This piece of origami art, Scorpion varileg, Opus 379, was created by physicist Robert Lang, who left his day job to do origami full-time. You can learn about his work on Robert J. Lang Origami; in the "Science" section, you'll see how origami can be applied to problems in engineering and industrial design. For much more on Lang himself, see this New Yorker article.

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Physics at Home

How to Make a Paper Crane--Origami

Visit How to Make a Paper Crane--Origami to make the famous origami paper crane. Just follow the steps in the video.


From Physics Research

Fold Everything image
image credit: Zhong You and Kaori Kuribayashi; image source: image not available online; larger image

Fold Everything

This photo shows a stent, a small metal cylinder inserted into a diseased artery to open it up. To be inserted, the device must be collapsed, and origami folding provides a way to do that. The stent is shown in the photo above, both folded and unfolded.

Airbags are folded carefully to fit into small volumes inside an automobile. To find out how the mathematics of origami produces the folding design, visit Airbag Folding.

For a short National Geographic article on origami applications, see Fold Everything.

Worth a Look

Exploratorium Magazine Online: Exploring Origami

Check out Exploratorium Magazine Online: Exploring Origami to learn about recent advances in the art of origami. Don't miss the video of folding interlocking rings out of one sheet of paper. Also, you'll find out how the paper crane became a symbol of peace in Japan.

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